Black Swan State Theatre company presents York: A West Australian ghost story

York is a West Australian ghost story inspired by 200 years of real accounts. It is a raw, resonating new work written by two incredibly talented West Australian artists Ian Michael (Wilman Nyoongar) and Chris Isaacs, that bristles with excitement and heart.

Presented during Maali Festival, this will be the world premiere of York, which has been in development over four years, with a first public reading at the York Town Hall in 2020.

Set on Ballardong boodja, the story takes place around an abandoned hospital in the township of York. It’s a thrilling ride from humour to terror as we wind back time to reveal a dark past.

We first meet a contemporary tree changing couple who move into an old, abandoned hospital building where they soon notice something isn’t quite right. We then find ourselves in 1985 in the very same building where a cub scout troop experience poltergeist-like hauntings. We travel back further in time to when the building was a military hospital post World War 1, and finally we visit the early years of white settlement and discover the brutal truth – the violence and injustice – of our colonial past.

Both in content and form…York is epic storytelling in every way.

Artistic Director Clare Watson Says:

As a theatre maker, there are some projects that you work on that change you. They profoundly recalibrate your thinking and make you see the world anew. York is definitely one of those plays. The years of development have made me more finely attuned to the whispers of history that emerge from this beautiful country. So many have lived and loved and told stories here before us – there are whispers that emerge from the walls of old buildings, from the trees that have borne witness to multiple generations and from the land itself. The process has been extraordinary in its care, reverence, harmony and deep listening – and I will cherish this experience forever. York is an important and powerful piece of theatre.

The set by Zoe Atkinson is breathtaking. The talented cast of ten play multiple characters across different eras. The adult ensemble – Shareena Clanton, Isaac Diamond, Jo Morris, Ben Mortley, Maitland Schnaars,  Elise Wilson, and Alison Van Reeken are joined by young cast members, Benjamin and Jacob Narkle, and Sophie Quin. We’re thrilled to be working with the WA Youth Theatre Company once more on this project.

There are two writers collaborating, Ian Michael and Chris Isaacs, and also two directors, Black Swan’s Artistic Director Clare Watson with the exceptionally talented Ian Wilkes.

Ian says of York:

We are all just visitors of this time, this place, we are all just passing through.

The creative team includes Zoe Atkinson, Lucy Birkinshaw, Dr Clint Bracknell and Polly Low.

York is a fabulously rich and often true story that reminds us that a place holds memories and its inhabitants are bound to hear the echoes of what has gone before.

York is a bold, original work that confronts us with our past. It’s our way of sharing stories that create brave and playful conversations – For you. About you. With you.

It’s a unique, funny, and compelling piece of theatre that everyone in Western Australia needs to see.

York a play in two acts by Ian Michael and Chris Isaacs

Irene and Shauna Act two, York:

Every act before and before and before sends a shockwave through the land, like ripples in a river of time, and it shakes the buildings where we live and shifts the earth on which we stand.

Season Details
Venue: Heath Ledger Theatre
Date:   10 July – 1 Aug 2021
For more information click on HERE

One thought on “Black Swan State Theatre company presents York: A West Australian ghost story

  • Hi is there an age recommendation for York?
    Ok for a couple of mature 12 year olds?


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